Physical Activity Guidelines: New Update for Kids

Wellbeats Kids Class Muscle Maker

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provide science-based guidance to help those ages three and older improve their health through regular physical activity. For the first time in over a decade, the Physical Activity Guidelines shares a new recommendation update for kids.

The 2nd edition reflects new knowledge obtained since the original edition was released in 2008, including guidance for preschool children (ages three to five).

Key Guidelines for Preschool-Aged Children

  • Ages: 3-5 years old
  • Average target amount of physical activity: 3 hours per day of various intensity levels (light, moderate, vigorous)

Preschool-aged children should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Adult caregivers of preschool-aged children should encourage active play that includes a variety of activity types.

Activity Examples

  • Throwing games
  • Bike Riding
  • Hopping
  • Skipping
  • Jumping

Key Guidelines for School-Aged Children and Adolescents

  • Ages: 6-17 years old
  • Average target amount of physical activity: 1 hour or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day

School-aged youth experience the greatest gains in bone mass during the years just before and during puberty, with the majority of peak bone mass obtained at the end of adolescence. School-aged children and adolescents should be encouraged to participate in a variety of physical activities for bone and muscle strength that are appropriate for their age.

Aerobic Activities

  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Jump roping
  • Dancing
  • Bike riding

Muscle-strengthening Activities

  • Playing tug-a-war
  • Climbing trees
  • Lifting weights
  • Resistance band training

Bone-strengthening Activities

  • Running
  • Jump roping
  • Basketball
  • Tennis
  • Hopscotch

Benefits of Physically Active Children and Adolescents

Children and adolescence are critical periods for developing movement skills, learning healthy habits, and establishing a solid foundation for lifelong health and wellbeing.

There are many benefits of physically active children and adolescents, including:


  • Higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Stronger muscles
  • Lower body fat
  • Stronger bones
  • Improved cognition (for school-aged children)
  • Reduces symptoms of depression (school-aged children)
  • Lowers risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or osteoporosis

Bottom line? Every minute counts! Encourage kids to pursue a variety of physical activities they enjoy. Wellbeats features 5 different physical activity channels for kids ages 3-14*, including:

Wellbeats Channels for Kids

  • Purposeful Play channel – story-telling, explorative activities for ages 3-5
  • Move Me! channel – engaging, cognitive-focused movements for ages 6-9
  • Generation Fit channel – effective strength and conditioning exercises for ages 6-14
  • Sports Ready channel – injury-reducing “prehab” training for ages 6-14
  • BOSU® Sports Kids channel – exercises for balance and coordination using a BOSU® for ages 6-14

Click here to learn more about Wellbeats channel offerings.

*May vary according to Wellbeats content subscription package